The last paper brought out the fact that the Apostle Paul insisted that the "cross of Christ" provided believers with a means of being freed from the Adamic nature, the old slave master. The "cross of Christ" dealt with all that relates to Adam. (In our study we will refer to the old nature of the believer as Adam).
I The last paper also brought out some background regarding the Pentecostal
Dispensation. An attempt was made to "set the stage" so the reader could get 'a
"feeling" of what prompted the writing of the Galatian Epistle.
Paul had received information from the Calatian believers that believing
Pharisees out of Jerusalem were in the area preaching "another gospel" (Gal.
1:6). Which in reality was not another (Gal. 1:7). This so-called gospel was
troubling the Galatians for the Jews out of Jerusalem insisted that the Gentile
believers be circumcised and live under the Law of Moses.
The Apostle writes Galatians before Acts 15, as was pointed out in the previous
Plainer Words. He certifies that "the gospel (of the uncircumcision) which was
preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I
taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal.1:11-12).
The "gospel of the uncircumcision" (Gal. 2:7) which Paul preached was a truth
which was infinitely more profound than that which the judaizers preached. Keep
in mind that the judaizers out of Jerusalem were saved. They believed that Jesus
of Nazareth was indeed Israel's Christ (see Acts 15:5). Those who were still
zealous of the Law sincerely thought that Gentile converts should be circumcised
and live under the Law as did Gentiles in the past centuries who embraced
But the Apostle Paul received his message by revelation from Jesus Christ
regarding uncircumcision. The Pharisees out of Jerusalem did not have knowledge
of this revelation. In fact. they questioned Paul's authority and doubted his
apostleship. This is why he starts the Galatian letter with "Paul. an apostle.
(not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father. Who raised
Him from the dead;)" (Gal. 1:1).
With this thought in view we can readily understand that the Jews were dealing
with mere externalism. Paul's gospel went infinitely deeper. The Judaizers only
insisted on a little cutting of the flesh. This is the circumcision "after the
manner of Moses" (Acts 15:1) that the Judaizers insisted upon. The cutting of
the foreskin was sufficient to satisfy the demands of the teachers from
Palestine. Paul taught a much deeper truth concerning circumcision. The cutting
of the foreskin is absolutely of no profit "in Christ" (Gal. 5:2).
This flesh cutting only dealt with a small part of Adam. Paul taught that the
"cross" dealt with all which relates to Adam. Ali! There is the big difference.
The Judaizers wanted to cut off a little piece of Adam's proud flesh. Paul
preached the principle of the cross which cut off Adam himself. The Judaizers
taught that if the Gentiles would submit to the painful foreskin cutting they
could be "saved;" that is, qualify for the kingdom. The old Adamic nature would
tolerate this. But Adam resisted the principle of the cross, for the cross of
Christ deals with all of the Adamic nature, not just a portion of his flesh.
Paul preached that "the cross of Christ" was the end of all that relates to the
believer's old nature. This provides no place for Adam, for the old nature was
crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed or rendered
inoperative (Rom. 6:6).
Before we go further it will be well to look at several aspects of truth which
relate to the "cross of Christ." We will notice a relationship between "crucify"
and "cut off." It will also be noted that. there is a relationship between
"circumcise" and "cut off."
Crucify is to Cut Off
The idea of being crucified also has the underlying thought of being "cut off."
In the Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah we read concerning our Lord Jesus Christ
that "He was wounded . . . He was bruised . . . The chastisement of our peace
was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed . . . All we like sheep have
gone astray; . . . and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was
oppressed,. . . was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a
Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before His shearers is dumb, so He opened
not His mouth. He was taken from the prison and from judgment . . . for HE WAS
CUT OFF OUT OF THE LAND OF THE LIVING."
When Isaiah 53:8 speaks prophetically of Christ being "cut off out of the land
of the living" the reference is to His crucifixion. In the 9th verse we read,
"He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death." This should
show that the "cross of Christ" cut off the Lord Jesus Christ from the land of
the living. It was the instrument of death.
Another reference to a cutting off which has reference to death is found in job
"Man that is born of woman is few of days and full of trouble. He cometh forth
like a flower, and is cut down;"
This cutting down is being "cut off" from the land of the living. Another
reference is found in Ps. 37:2 and 90:6. "For they shall soon be cut down like
the grass, and wither as the green herb." "In the morning it flourisheth, and
groweth up; in the evening it is cut down."
In job 24 there is a reference to the wicked who are consumed by the grave,
"They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are
taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn"
Circumcise is to Cut Off
The rite or ceremony of circumcision is to "cut off the prepuce or foreskin of
males." The Bible uses this word interchangeably with the thought of "cutting
off" as in the instance in Deut. 30:6.
"And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to
love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou
The idea is that Israel's heart shall be "cut off"' from serving and worshiping
other Gods (see Dent. Jer. 32:39; Eph. 11:19, 36:26).
Moses speaks of his lips as "uncircumcised" in Exodus 6:12. Another reference to
the heart is found in Leviticus 26:41. There it says, ". . . if then their
uncircumcised hearts be humbled. . ."
In Jeremiah we read of an "uncircumcised ear" (6:10) which is not cut off from
the prophecy of the false prophets (5:31). The "uncircumcised ear:" fails to
hear the warning of God. In Chapter 9:26 Jeremiah says, "all these nations are
uncircumcised (i.e. in the flesh), and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised
in the heart." The thought is while the males of the other nations do not have
their foreskins cut off neither does Israel have her affections cut off from the
world of other nations.
Ezekiel 44:7 tells of the fact that the rebellious house of Israel has been
quietly polluting the "house of the Lord" by bringing into it "uncircumcised in
heart, and uncircumcised in flesh." Verse 9 says none such should enter the
Stephen calls his audience "ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears"
(Acts 7:51). They resisted the Holy Ghost, hence they were not cut off from the
We trust enough has been said to now try to bring all the loose ends together.
Keep in mind the fact that the question of circumcision permeates the ",hole
epistle to the Galatians. You will notice that there are 13 references to
"circumcised" and "circumcision."
"Uncircumcision" occurs three times, being found in Galatians 2:7, 5:6, 6:13.
The Judaizers insisted that believing Gentiles be circumcised "after the manner
of Moses" as well as live under the Law. Paul shows that to do so would be like
going back to weak and beggarly elements (Gal. 4:9). For these were simply
rudiments. They were "weak," that is without strength. They were feeble and sick
attempts to provide power to live godly. They were "beggarly" attempts, that is
they were extremely indigent or poor attempts to provide power to live in
harmony with their calling. The Apostle Paul spoke of "the power of God" which
was the "preaching of the cross."
In comparison with the principle of the cross, circumcision and the Law were
"weak and beggarly elements." This flesh cutting and law keeping was only
"popcorn power" in comparison to "the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18), for the
"preaching of the cross" which is the power of God did not just deal with the
foreskin of Adam's proud flesh, but it dealt with all of Adam. Adam was
crucified! All that relates to Adam was circumcised, that is, Adam was
completely dealt with. He himself was cut off. '
This cutting off of Adam provided the "offence of the cross." This fact that God
dealt on the cross with all that pertained to Adam was what caused the anger of
the Judaizers. This was the root cause of the persecution against Paul. Notice
"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?
then is the offence of the cross ceased."
The next verse shows the relationship between circumcision and cut off. "I would
they were even cut off which trouble you."
Circumcision is a cutting off even as indicated in the context. Paul is saying
in so many words, "Those who desire to circumcise you, I wish that they were
circumcised from you."
The "offence of the cross" was offensive to the Judaizers. It caused anger. It
offended. For you see, even though the Judaizers were saved (Acts 15:5), in
their "gospel" they made a provision for the flesh (i.e. Adam). In Paul's gospel
the only provision made for Adam was the cross. The cross was an instrument of
death. The cross was for dying. It was the terminus for the Adamlife.
The Judaizers desired to "make a fair shew in the flesh" by compelling the
Gentile believers to be circumcised. They wanted to avoid suffering "persecution
for the cross of Christ" (Gal. 6:12).
The cross to which Paul called men was not popular. Dismiss from your mind the
thought that the "offence of the cross" was that "a dead Jew hung there," as one
expositor says. The offence goes infinitely deeper than that. The "cross of
Christ" to which the Apostle Paul called men was rugged. It was to be a terminus
of selfishness. At the cross all that related to Adam was put to death. God
views it that way. Paul was given insight to see it that way and he presented
this truth in such a manner in the Galatian churches that he could say, "before
your very eyes Jesus Christ was evidently set forth, crucified in your very
midst" (Gal. 3:1); not an exact quotation, but said in my words.
The "offence of the cross" and the persecution that arose from the "preaching of
the cross" was due to the fact that no provision was made at all for Adam. Paul
could say "I am crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20). He reckoned as so the fact
that his Adamic-nature was crucified and buried with Christ, and that he was
raised from the dead with Christ and hence "walking in newness of life."
Therefore he says, "nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me."
That was the message Paul preached.